1. The lobster monopoly
Paul Withers, reporting for the CBC, gets into the details of Clearwater Seafood’s monopoly of the entire offshore lobster fishery, and into its apparent monopoly of exemptions to fishing regulations:
… a CBC News investigation reveals the company is poised to achieve a long-sought change to a fisheries rule for its offshore lobster monopoly.
The department is amending a decades-old Atlantic Fisheries Regulations requirement that gear must be tended within 72 hours.
It’s a standard that many inshore boats and Clearwater, with its single vessel hauling thousands of traps, do not meet.
In its most recent management plan for the Clearwater offshore lobster fishery, the department said it will “provide for flexibility … where scientific studies have shown that the conservation objectives of a 72-hour maximum can be achieved through other means.”
Clearwater’s effort to get the regulation changed is documented in reports filed by the Marine Stewardship Council, which has certified the offshore lobster fishery as environmentally sustainable since 2010.
But the study has not been released, and that angers Shannon Arnold of the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax. She said she’s been asking DFO for it for two years.
“This company at the moment has exclusive access to a big swatch of ocean. They have a privilege to fish there and therefore they have accountability to the public,” Arnold said. “And any of the science and that sort of thing that is coming out of that fishery should be publicly available.
Who is the Marine Stewardship Council? Interestingly, Wikipedia has put a warning on its entry for the group, noting that “a major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject.”
Back in 2011, Guardian reporter Lewis Smith wrote that “The body which certifies that fish have been caught sustainably [the Marine Stewardship Council] has been accused of ‘duping’ consumers by giving its eco-label to fisheries where stocks are tumbling.”:
Chris Pincetich, a marine biologist with the Turtle Island Restoration Network, said: “The MSC has rushed to accept applications from hundreds of fisheries around the globe in order to grow their business and network. Many of those are actually viewed by scientists as unsustainable. They should really take a closer look before they even engage with those fisheries.”
Two years later, in 2013, a consortium of 11 researchers published A review of formal objections to Marine Stewardship Council fisheries certifications, a highly critical look at the organization, reported Science Daily:
To gauge the viability of MSC’s labeling program, the researchers examined 19 formal objections — raised primarily by environmental groups and amounting to one-third, by weight, of all MSC-certified seafood — to certifications MSC has granted to fisheries for Chilean sea bass, Antarctic krill, and others. Objections are heard by an independent adjudicator appointed by MSC. In all but one of these 19 cases, the certification was upheld.
In the Biological Conservation analysis, the researchers sought to determine whether these fisheries, in fact, met the MSC’s principles for certification.
The MSC uses three major principles that third-party certifiers interpret in determining whether a fishery is “sustainable” and may use the MSC label: sustainability of the target fish stock; low impacts on the ecosystem; and effective management. However, the researchers found many of these fisheries — representing 35 per cent of eco-labeled seafood — did not meet MSC standards.
For instance, the longline fishery for swordfish in Canada appears to violate the “low impacts on the ecosystem” principle. This fishery has high levels of bycatch — sea life accidentally caught in pursuit of other fish. The targeted catch of 20,000 swordfish per year results in bycatch of approximately 100,000 sharks as well as 1,200 endangered loggerhead and 170 critically endangered leatherback turtles.
“The MSC’s narrow definition of sustainability is out of step with the general public perception of what that term means,” said Claire Christian, one of the study’s co-authors and a policy analyst at the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. “When the MSC labels a swordfish fishery that catches more sharks than swordfish ‘sustainable,’ it’s time to re-evaluate its standards.”
2. The asphalt monopoly
Some unknown (to me) person out there in the public filed a Freedom of Information request asking for details about asphalt contracts.
The results are predictable: Dexter Construction has a near-monopoly on provincial asphalt jobs. Last year, for example, Dexter was awarded 76 jobs worth $93.9 million, while the most active competitor, S.W. Weeks of New Glasgow, landed just 12 jobs worth $14.2 million.
3. Ferry service extended
Halifax council yesterday voted to extend the increases in the Alderney ferry service, at a cost of $550,000. This is dubbed a one-year “pilot project” to see if the increases in ridership that came during the Macdonald Bridge reconstruction project are maintained.
4. Cultural hub
As I reported in January:
Last year, the province hired Lord Consulting, a Toronto firm that specializes in planning for museums, to conduct a feasibility study for a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia to be located either in a stand-alone building on the waterfront or “co-located” with NSCAD. Lord recommended the latter option.
That recommendation led to yesterday’s announcement from the province:
Planning will begin this spring for a proposed cultural hub on the Halifax Waterfront which will include a new Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University.
“I am pleased to announce that we are working collaboratively with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, NSCAD and the Waterfront Development Corporation to develop a business case for a new cultural hub which will include a provincial art gallery, Nova Scotia Arts and Design university, and an exciting new public space on the Halifax Waterfront,” said Leo Glavine, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
“Nova Scotia is fortunate to have one of the country’s best provincial art collections. A new cultural hub will serve as a dynamic and iconic new space for the gallery, while inspiring future artists through education and programming, and serving as a place for Nova Scotians and visitors alike to gather and be inspired for generations to come.”
Dynamic and iconic, eh? Sounds dangerous. If we’ve learned anything by now it’s that when they start flinging around bullshit terms we should be very afraid.
“The Halifax waterfront” is a rather vague geographic description. It could mean anything from HalTerm to Africville Park…
… but why do I have this suspicion that the ultimate goal is to lease space from Queen’s Marque?
5. Good Friday
“Whether you work or not, you will be paid for Good Friday 30 March, if you qualify,” explains Judy Haiven:
To qualify for a paid holiday on Good Friday you need to
1. be “entitled to receive pay” for 15 of the last 30 calendar days
2. have worked the last scheduled day or shift before Good Friday and the first scheduled shift after the holiday.
If your employer tells you not to work on the day before, or the day after Good Friday, you should still get paid.
If Good Friday falls on your day off, and you qualify – you are entitled to another day off with pay.
There’s a more detailed explanation at the link.
The Good Friday holiday confuses me. I grew up in Catholic and went to Catholic school. Of course, we’d go to church in the evening; by my young eyes it was one of the coolest church days because they stripped all the decoration out of the place — no altar coverings, no banners on the wall, no lights, even, and we had to squint to see in the candlelight. It was totally Goth. The idea was that we were mourning the actual death of Christ, and then on Easter Sunday the whole place would explode with colour and decoration and celebration.
But Good Friday was never a holiday. Like every other day, I had to deliver my newspapers, and Dad had to go to work. It was a school day, and regular after-school activities like track practice and whatnot continued as normal.
So I was surprised when I moved to Halifax and found the whole town shut down on Good Friday, even for nonbelievers. My first year here, I met with a group of academic friends, themselves new to town, for beers at Freeman’s, and the server made us buy a pizza, I guess the idea being that we’d better contemplate the sacrifice of the Saviour if we were eating pepperoni. The following year, I stopped by my regular tavern on Good Friday, took my usual stool at the bar, and ordered a beer; the barkeep placed a plate with a half-eaten hamburger in front of me — “in case the liquor inspector comes in,” he explained. But wouldn’t the liquor inspector have the day off? I wondered.
They did away with the weird liquor rules a few years ago, but Good Friday is still a stat holiday. Anything for a day off, I guess. I’m not complaining. I’m going to take the day off myself, and contemplate my navel.
No public meetings.
Building Belonging: Racism in Institutions of Higher Education (Thursday, 11am, Room 302, Student Union Building) — Kevin Hewitt, Isaac Saney, and Barbara Hamilton-Hinch will “lead a knowledge and reflection circle as an opportunity to discuss racism as it pertains to teaching and learning.”
Improving Health Through Better Sleep (Thursday, 12pm, Room C523, Collaborative Health Education Building) — sleep therapist Kathy MacPherson will speak about the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep. Bring Your Own Pillow.
Einstein’s Ripples: Listening to the Violent Universe with Waves of Gravity(Thursday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building) — Sanjeev Seahra from the University of New Brunswick will speak about a bunch of astronomy stuff no one at the Examiner can understand.
Cuba 2018 and Beyond: New Challenges, Revolutionary Continuity (Thursday, 7pm, Room 1108, Marion McCain Building) — from the event listing:
Juan Carlos Rodriguez Diaz, elected member of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, professor of history, and historian of the City of Pinar del Rio, will talk about elections and democracy in Cuba, and the passing of the revolutionary torch from the historic generation that made the Cuban Revolution to the new generations born during and within the revolution.
Beyond Environmentalism: Why Saving the Planet Means Forgetting What You Assume to be True (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Theatre, Marion McCain Building) — Examiner contributor Linda Pannozzo will speak.
Drums and Organs, Or, the Modern Frankenstein (Friday, 7:30pm, Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre) — written by Gillian Clark and directed by Roberta Barker. $15/$10. Matinee Saturday at 2pm.
Unmaking People: The Politics of Negation from Frankenstein to Westworld (Thursday, 7pm, Alumni Hall) — Despina Kakoudaki from American University, Washington, DC, author of Anatomy of a Robot: Literature, Cinema, and the Cultural Work of Artificial People, will talk about “the idea and treatment of the artificial person in a human world.” Bring Your Own Robot.
In the harbour
5am: Hangzhou Bay Bridge, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Colombo, Sri Lanka
6:30am: Malleco, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for Dubai
6:45am: Algoma Dartmouth, oil tanker, moves from Anchorage to Pier 34
7am: Pantonio, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from Reykjavik, Iceland
7:15am: Glorious Leader, car carrier, arrives at Autoport from Southampton, England
8am: Damia Desgagnes, asphalt tanker, sails from Pier 27 for sea
9am: Kommandor Iona, research vessel, arrives at Pier 9 from Hull, Great Britain
9am: Ferbec, bulker, sails from Pier 9 for sea
11am: Pantonio, container ship, sails from Pier 42 for sea
11:30am: Patroclus, oil tanker, sails from anchorage for sea
3pm: Hangzhou Bay Bridge, container ship, sails from Fairview Cove for New York
4:30pm: Glorious Leader, car carrier, sails from Autoport for sea
5pm: AlgoScotia, oil tanker, arrives at Imperial Oil from Quebec City
We’re recording Examineradio today.